Pitts Theology Library
Archives and Manuscripts Department

James Warrington
Papers, 1886-1901

Descriptive Summary
Creator:James Warrington, 1841-1915.
Title:James Warrington papers, 1886-1901.
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 395
Extent:5.1 cubic feet (8 boxes)
Abstract:Consists of the correspondence, and catalogs of hymns and hymnals by James Warrington.
Language:Materials entirely in English.
Administrative Information
Restrictions on Access: There are no restrictions on the content of this collection, although due to preservation concerns, reproductions may be supplied in place of original documents.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.
Citation[after identification of item(s)], James Warrington papers, MSS 395, Archives and Manuscript Department, Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
ProcessingProcessed by Brandon Wason and Paul DeGeorge, October 2015.

Biographical Note

James Warrington was born in Colchester, England in 1841 and died in Philadelphia on October 3, 1915 at age 74. He was an Episcopalian and actively engaged in hymnal collections and revisions. He had immigrated to America by at least the year 1869. In 1883, at age 42, he married 26-year-old Mary Johnson Thompson in Philadelphia. They had one son who died at age eleven.

Much of his 74 years was filled with a passion for collecting church music and annotating the history of hymn books and psalters of the English-speaking churches. He collected and made notations of thousands of tunes, and by 1905 the number reached an astounding 150,000 tunes. His correspondence confirms that he resided in Philadelphia at 203 Walnut Place. Warrington conducted his correspondence from his office as stated in an April 1898 letter to C. J. Heppe and Sons: "As I conduct all my correspondence from my office may I request that you will address your future communications there instead to my residence." The correspondence also indicates that he purchased an Aeolian organ for his own use from Heppe and Sons for the very large sum of $500, and paid via installments. Although he once played, his stiff hands relegated him to listening to a mechanical organ. Warrington was not an ordained minister or a publisher and did not have a degree in theology, music or a related field. He was a professional accountant by trade. A letter dated to April of 1899 employs the official letterhead, "The National Bureau of Accounting, No. 203 Walnut Place Principal James Warrington, Public Accountant; Lecturer on Accounts at the University of Pennsylvania; Member of a Commission to simplify Post Office Accounts, etc." This, therefore, demonstrates James Warrington's means of support to finance his ever growing collection.

A letter from Warrington to Mr. G. Hedeler in October 26, 1896 clearly states the nature and goal of his passionate avocation in life:

My collection numbers between two and three thousand volumes and has been made with a view to compiling a history of Psalmody among English speaking peoples. I only touch other books if they illustrate or through [sic] any light upon my subject. My collection comprises Psalters, Tune books, Sermons and Essays upon all subjects connected with it and it is increasing almost every day. In addition to the books I own I follow up my subject in a way few collectors do. If I borrow a book which has any historical value I make (on sheets prepared for the purpose) a line for line copy of the title page, a list of all the tunes in the book and if the preface is of value a full copy of that and a copy of any tune or notes that may be especially valuable and then make annotations of my own so that before I return the book to its owner I have in my possession all of the book which is of any value. I have done in this way about three hundred books which are not often met with. My catalogue is made on slips of paper like the enclosed and I use different colors to show when I possess the book, when I have seen the book and when I have made skeleton of the book. In this way I have embraced in my catalogue fifteen to twenty thousand titles and in cases where I have not seen the book I mark on the slip the source from which I gain the title. Beside this I have an alphabetical index of about fifteen thousand tunes and showing when and how the tunes first appeared. I am now preparing and hope to have ready by next spring a catalogue of books on this subject and shall hope to print it. [box 1, folder 11]

During his lifetime, Warrington's personal library became legendary. In 1899, he sold his collection to Hartford Seminary in Connecticut with the agreement that it would remain in his possession for five years while he continued work on his catalog. After the five years, Warrington resisted, but Hartford Seminary was successful in bringing his collection to their library. This library was eventually acquired by Pitts Theology Library when it purchased the Hartford collection in 1975. A second Warrington collection resides at the Barbour Library at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains Warrington's correspondence that spans from 1886 to 1901. Most of his correspondence relates to loans or acquisitions of hymnals for his catalog and thus he corresponded with librarians, book dealers, publishers and other private collectors. The correspondence also sheds light on the person of James Warrington and his passion for collecting. Some of the notable people and organizations that Warrington communicated with include:

The remainder of the collection relates to Warrington's efforts to catalog hymns, hymnbooks, and psalmody. There is a bound manuscript volume with the title "Two Centuries of Psalmnody in the United States (1620-1820)." This volume correlates to the self-published work, Short titles of books relating to or illustrating the history and practice of psalmody in the United States, 1620-1820 (Philadelphia, 1898), although the data recorded in the manuscript volume extends beyond those dates. Warrington's catalog of hymnals are individual records of hymnals that he had indexed. These were left in the original (unsorted) order in which we received them. Warrington also maintained an index of hymns organized by their first line, and a smaller collection of sheet music of hymns.

This collection should be of particular interest to researchers interested in the cataloging of hymns, hymnals, and psalmody, as well as the life of James Warrington, the well-known hymn collector and cataloger of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Container Listing

11Correspondence, 1886
12Correspondence, 1887
13Correspondence, 1888
14Correspondence, 1889
15Correspondence, 1890
16Correspondence, 1891
17Correspondence, 1892
18Correspondence, 1893
19Correspondence, 1894
110Correspondence, 1895
111Correspondence, 1896, (1 of 3)
21Correspondence, 1896, (2 of 3)
22Correspondence, 1896, (3 of 3)
23Correspondence, 1897, (1 of 3)
24Correspondence, 1897, (2 of 3)
25Correspondence, 1897, (3 of 3)
26Correspondence, 1898, (1 of 2)
31Correspondence, 1898, (2 of 2)
32Correspondence, 1899, (1 of 2)
33Correspondence, 1899, (2 of 2)
34Correspondence, 1900
35Correspondence, 1901
36Correspondence, Not Dated
41Correspondence, oversized
Chronological Index of Psalmnody
42Bound manuscript: "Two Centuries of Psalmnody in the United States (1620-1820)."
[data spans dates from 1523-1897]
Catalog of Hymnals
51Hymnal Catalog, Part 1
52Hymnal Catalog, Part 2
53Hymnal Catalog, Part 3
54Hymnal Catalog, Part 4
55Hymnal Catalog, Part 5
56Hymnal Catalog, Part 6
57Hymnal Catalog, Part 7
58Hymnal Catalog, Part 8
59Hymnal Catalog, Part 9
510Hymnal Catalog, Part 10
511Hymnal Catalog, Part 11
512Hymnal Catalog, Part 12
513Hymnal Catalog, Part 13
514Hymnal Catalog, Part 14
515Hymnal Catalog, Part 15
516Hymnal Catalog, Part 16
517Hymnal Catalog, Part 17
518Hymnal Catalog, Part 18
61Hymnal Catalog, Part 19
62Hymnal Catalog, Part 20
63Hymnal Catalog, Part 21
64Hymnal Catalog, Part 22
65Hymnal Catalog, Part 23
66Hymnal Catalog, Part 24
67Hymnal Catalog, Part 25
68Hymnal Catalog, Part 26
69Hymnal Catalog, Part 27
610Hymnal Catalog, Part 28
611Hymnal Catalog, Part 29
612Hymnal Catalog, Part 30
613Hymnal Catalog, Part 31
614Hymnal Catalog, Part 32
615Hymnal Catalog, Part 33
616Hymnal Catalog, Part 34
617Hymnal Catalog, Part 35
618Hymnal Catalog, Part 36
71Hymnal Catalog, Part 37
72Hymnal Catalog, Part 38
73Hymnal Catalog, Part 39
74Hymnal Catalog, Part 40
75Hymnal Catalog, Part 41
76Hymnal Catalog, Part 42
77Hymnal Catalog, Part 43
78Hymnal Catalog, Part 44
79Hymnal Catalog, Part 45
710Hymnal Catalog, Part 46
711Hymnal Catalog, Part 47
712Hymnal Catalog, Part 48
713Hymnal Catalog, Part 49
Catalog of the First Line of Hymns
714Hymns, First Line Catalog - A
715Hymns, First Line Catalog - B
716Hymns, First Line Catalog - C
717Hymns, First Line Catalog - D
718Hymns, First Line Catalog - E
719Hymns, First Line Catalog - F
720Hymns, First Line Catalog - G
721Hymns, First Line Catalog - H
722Hymns, First Line Catalog - J
723Hymns, First Line Catalog - K
724Hymns, First Line Catalog - L
81Hymns, First Line Catalog - M
82Hymns, First Line Catalog - N
83Hymns, First Line Catalog - O
84Hymns, First Line Catalog - P
85Hymns, First Line Catalog - S
86Hymns, First Line Catalog - T (1of 2)
87Hymns, First Line Catalog - T (2of 2)
88Hymns, First Line Catalog - W
Sheet Music of Hymns
37Sheet Music of Hymns, part 1
38Sheet Music of Hymns, part 2
39Sheet Music of Hymns, part 3

Last updated: October 23, 2015 (bcw)